Southern towns hold line on paramedic fees

GERMANTOWN–The Town Board unanimously approved keeping the 2013 rescue squad chargeback agreement at $82,812, the same amount it has been for the last two years. This is a flat annual fee for ambulance services for those whose insurance, or lack of it, does not cover transport.

Columbia County pays the fee and then deducts the $82,812 from revenues it shares with the town.

In response to questions from Councilman Donald Westmore, Supervisor Roy Brown explained that since the Southern Columbia Ambulance Squad disbanded Northern Dutchess Paramedics, based in Rhinebeck, has provided rescue squad services to a consortium of five southern Columbia County towns: Ancram, Clermont, Gallatin, Germantown and Livingston.

NPD has asked for a raise, but the five supervisors got together a couple of years ago, said Mr. Brown, and decided not to increase their contribution. Meeting again this year, the supervisors’ consensus was to go one more year at their current rates, said Mr. Brown, before raising their contribution to the squad.

Councilman Joel Craig told Mr. Westmore that in essence the squad, which holds the required state Certificate of Need, has a monopoly. “We can’t put out an RFP,” he said, referring to a formal request for proposals from other providers.

In other business, the board:

Approved unanimously the 2013 town budget, which comes with a .6% tax increase. The tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value is $2.42. Total town appropriations are $1.2 million for the General Fund and the Highway Fund, plus $177,00 for the sewer district and $6,000 for the lighting district

Approved unanimously awarding JRT Enterprises the contract to aerate the town’s lake on Palatine Park Road, to clean it of invasive weeds. The bid was $6,000, which will be covered by $4,000 remaining in budgeted 2012 funds for the lake and by dipping into the year’s remaining fund balance. JRT can do the work in the next couple of weeks, said Mr. Brown, which is preferable, since aerating will produce an odor. Aerating the lake may prevent it from freezing solid enough for ice-skating this winter, but as was pointed out, the lake hasn’t frozen thick enough for skating in the last three years

Learned from Parks Commission member Brittany DuFresne that Saturday, December 1, is the date of the town’s Christmas tree lighting. From 5 to 9 p.m., Main Street and environs will be the site of carols, a live nativity scene and free food and drink. The tree lighting is at 6 p.m. Santa Claus will be at GTel on Maple Avenue from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Shops will stay open late, and the Friends of the Germantown Library will hold a holiday gift fair at Central House from noon to 9 p.m.

Learned from Mr. Brown that the town’s business group,, meets Friday, December 7, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Central House on Main Street. This annual holiday get together recognizes businesses in town.

Learned from Bruce Bohnsack, chair of the Economic Development Committee, that two bids had been received for the construction and installation of information kiosks in the town. The committee is reviewing the bids, with the goal of having the town board make a decision at its December meeting. The Committee meets Saturday, December 1, at 9 a.m. at the GTel office on Maple Avenue.

The full board and about two-dozen residents attended the meeting. The next town board meeting is Monday, December 17, at 7 p.m., in Town Hall on Palatine Park Road. The board’s year-end meeting is Friday, December 28, at noon in Town Hall.


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